The Evolving Malden Group                                             November 2011
In This Issue

The Evolving Malden Group



Dear Friend,
One of our guiding principles is that each parent support group belongs to its members.  If parents think there is a problem in the group, they need to discuss it and hopefully solve the problem.  The story we bring you this month was written by Andy Knight, a co-facilitator of our parent support group in Malden.  Andy describes the Malden group’s path to revitalization.
Happy holidays.

Randall Block
Executive Director

We have redesigned our on-line material request form.  We are making available a Parental Stress Line card which is the same size as a business card.  We also have made some minor revisions to the Guide for Parents with Children in DCF Foster Care which is now in its second printing.
To request PHP materials, please click here.
The Evolving Malden Group
By Andy Knight
Since September of 2010, Dick Sargent and I have had the privilege of facilitating the PHP fathers group in Malden. After a somewhat slow start, we have seen it grow and become a meaningful support to fathers who have been involved with the Department of Children and Families either currently or in the recent past. A good number of fathers have come and gone through the group over the past year, but a few have become committed to being at group most every week. With all the challenges life is throwing them, these fathers always arrive ready to give to one another with attentive listening, constructive feedback and the bond of sharing similar experiences.

After a time, our attendance had settled back to just this core group of fathers.  Jim (not his real name), one the most committed and proactive members, thought that something new was needed to revitalize our group. So Jim threw out the idea of inviting women to attend the group as well. "After all" he said, "it is called Parents Helping Parents isn’t it?  Doesn't that imply more than just men?"
As a facilitator, at first I doubted that the other fathers would respond positively to this. After all, the group had become accustomed to candid and honest talk among men. 
But they surprised me.  One of the fathers said “Isn’t a child better off with two parents, a father and a mother?  I understand that men are more private about how they feel and women always express how they feel. But it can be useful for both men and women to share their opinions, the hard sacrifices, and what they enjoy the most about being a parent.  Each parent will have a chance to listen and share their experiences.  Hopefully they can relate to another parent and have a chance to reflect on their lives.  Just maybe they will use what they learn to fix their lives at home.”
So the group agreed to invite women to join.  The next week, one father brought three women to group. 
As it turns out, it has been just the thing to put a spark back into the group’s conversation.  Now, we are all appreciating the change and the unique and valuable perspective that the women are bringing each week!


Our mailing address is:
Parents Helping Parents
108 Water Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Phone: 617-926-5008